Dear <<First Name>>,

The dust has settled and it’s time to debrief what happened in Ga Power’s rate proceeding last week as it relates to rooftop solar and climate change.

Despite dozens of Georgians taking the time from their work and lives to come down to the Ga PSC hearing room and ask for net metering, which supports rooftop solar, elected officials on the Georgia Public Service Commission declined to expand the popular “monthly netting” program beyond the 5,000 customers originally authorized.

This program has been full for over a year. Georgia Power has 2.7 million customers and nearly every state has net metering, but not us..

Not only did they not expand the program, commissioners added a new penalty of a $100 “interconnection fee” for Georgia Power’s troubles connecting solar customers to “their grid” (that we paid for).

In May of this year a Georgia-based solar company called Better Solar Tomorrow published an essay in the Saporta Report about why Georgians deserve rooftop solar. It was fantastic. Click on the image to read the essay.

Though ultimately unsuccessful, the author gave numerous reasons why: because Georgians want solar; because rooftop solar brings good jobs; because Georgia needs more clean energy; and because we must reduce carbon emissions and solar is a quick, inexpensive way to do that.

If you would like to see some of the reasons people gave when asking the commission to expand net metering, I made a video of just their comments. Note they were ALL ignored.

Georgians want rooftop solar !

Substantial public outcry did have one small result: elected commissioners required Ga Power pay a few cents extra to rooftop solar producers: an additional 4 cents/kWh above the wholesale rate of 2.65 cents for a total of 6 cents/kWh for energy put on the grid, claiming 6.65 cents “fairly compensates” rooftop solar owners.

No commissioners, it does not. So while Georgia Power customers can still purchase and install rooftop solar, the reimbursement rate customers receive for returning extra energy to the grid is less than 50% of what Georgia Power charges customers. This allows Georgia Power to sell energy produced from rooftop solar for a profit.

Why didn’t commissioners expand net metering to more customers? Because Georgia Power didn’t want them to. The claim that Georgia Power made during this rate proceeding is that rooftop solar causes a cost-shift to customers without solar, but numerous experts provided analysis and testimony showing that’s not true. Here’s one - click on the hyperlink to Georgia Tech’s Dr. Marilyn Brown’s testimony:

And here’s another - click on the hyperlink to Kevin Lucas and Thatcher Young’s testimony:

Georgia Power declined to conduct a study to determine the value of solar. If it isn’t documented, they make claims without accountability and deny what outside experts say. It sounds like middle school behavior but the stakes are very high and Georgia Power knows how to play this game.

Here’s the truth: Rooftop solar does best during hot summer afternoons when peak energy is expensive to produce and expensive for us to pay for. There is value to non-solar customers to reducing those energy costs.

Other benefits rooftop solar provides to the grid includes avoided substation upgrades, avoided transmission line upgrades, and avoided expensive peaker plant costs to construct and run. Peaker plants are standby power plants that operate for less than 100 hours a year, sometimes less than 10 hours a year, that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to sit around doing nothing until they are needed. Rooftop solar would reduce all of these costs and the value likely far outweighs whatever laughably small cost-shift occurs, if any occurs at all.

We do know that there is a cost shift from large homes with soaring foyers and pool pumps using a large share of expensive peak energy they don’t pay extra for that drives up costs for everyone. Spare me your crocodile tears, Georgia Power. You don’t care about a cost shift or you would have solved that decades ago. What you care about is being the only one to profit from inexpensive solar energy. And that means the rooftop solar market must be crushed.

So Georgia will remain in 43rd place for state rankings of rooftop solar.

Oh the irony! The same day (12/20/22) Georgia’s elected commissioners declined to expand rooftop solar net metering, the New York Times published an article about Google’s goals for carbon-free energy hitting roadblocks at state-regulated utilities, “particularly in the Southeast”, with a photo of Georgia’s highly polluting coal plant, Plant Bowen

Quoted in the article is Jamey Goldin, an energy regulation lawyer at Google who grew up near Plant Bowen.

Overturning the system that puts nearly all power generation in the Southeast in the hands of utilities like Georgia Power would get a lot more renewable energy online and a lot of that dirty power offline.”

Yes Mr. Goldin, it certainly would. But how to get power generation out of the hands of Georgia Power? The first step is getting rid of the current commissioners in office. Defeat every one of them. Reform can’t happen from political patronage appointments who know nothing about energy, are not voting in the public interest, and who are not even Ga Power customers.

That’s what we’ve got now and had for the past 20 years. Their record tells the story.

Let’s move on to climate change. Georgia is one of the highest carbon polluting states in the U.S. per capita, according to the Energy Transition Institute and many other sources. Here in an excerpt from ETI - click on the image to access the analysis.

What about pledges - how are Georgia Power’s efforts to reduce carbon going, since they like to claim that their new nuclear power plant, Plant Vogtle, will emit no carbons? Surely they care? And what about their parent company, Southern Company, who pledged last year “net zero carbon emissions by 2050”?

According to Sierra Club’s Dirty Truth about Utility Climate Pledges, Georgia Power and Southern Company’s utilities get an F for its clean energy transition plan and progress on that plan.

Frankly, I think the Sierra Club is remiss in not including energy efficiency and demand response in this graphic. You can’t get lower than F though.


Earlier this year Grist, an online magazine that covers environmental news, published a story on how utilities in Arizona crushed rooftop solar with bad policies, similar to Georgia. According to the story, “In 2019, a group of citizens decided to take SRP (one of several AZ utilities) to court for engaging in anticompetitive conduct and discriminating against solar customers.” That case is still in the courts and I look forward to learning the outcome. I wish Georgians fought harder - as hard as Arizonans do. If the Arizona folks win maybe we can copy what they did. That is my dream.

Bottom line: this rate case was not good for Georgia. Georgia Power’s generation emits too many carbons and places us in the top 10 states for per capita carbon emissions; Georgia ranks in 43rd place for rooftop solar and will remain so; Georgia Power holds a lock on energy decisions that should be made in the public interest; Commissioners are not regulating in the public interest because voters haven’t held them accountable - that’s my goal with these emails; and that is my goal for running to defeat one of them.

Due to poor regulatory oversite Georgians are on track to pay the highest electric bills in the U.S. which will destabilize families from disconnections and will contribute to homelessness and poor learning outcomes for the children caught up in this.

Now even 3rd parties with net zero goals like Google are complaining about how Georgia’s state utility commission block needed change. When my campaign gets going again I hope I will have your support to begin to make needed changes.

Next time I will focus on transparency and ethics. Is the Ga Public Service Commission the worst state agency in that regard? Let’s see.

Thanks for reading. Happy New Year!